Caroline Fox.

Memories of old friends : being extracts from the journals of Caroline Fox of Penjerrick, Cornwall from 1835 to 1871 (Volume 2) online

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students, who craved the privilege, followed.
Wreaths royal and friendly were laid on the bier,
and he was placed just opposite Niebuhr's grave.

( 28o )


J 861-7 1.

" Leave this keen encounter of our wits." — Shakespeare.

Caroline Fox to Lucy Hodgkin.

" Ley ton, May 1861. — The Brights are staying
here, so we consider ourselves a very pleasant party.
John Bright is great fun, always ready for a chat
and a fulmination, and filling up the intervals of
business with ' Paradise Regained.'

" . . . One likes to have his opinion on men and
things, as it is strong, clear, and honest, however
one-sided. But he flies off provokingly into pounds,
shillings, and pence when one wants him to abide
for a little amongst deeper and less tangible motives,
powers and arguments."

Caroline Fox to M. E. Tregelles.
" Grove Hill, December 23. — After parting with
thee the other evening, I found myself continually
cooing over those comfortable words :


Yet why be sad ? for Thou wilt keep

Watch o'er them day by day :
Since Thou wilt soothe them when they weep

And hear us when we pray.

And this is just the prose Fact of the case^ full of
real substantial comfort, in all the chances and
changes of this mortal life. And another prose
Fact which is often voted poetical, seems to me
that we are really nearer together in spirit when
separated in body, as the thoughts and sympathies
are perfectly independent of geography, and they
naturally fly off on their own errands when a little
anxiety is added to our love.

" This has been a sad day ^ with its tolling bells,
its minute-guns, the band parading the streets play-
ing the ' Dead March in Saul ; ' but also a day on
which many and fervent prayers have arisen from
loving hearts, which we will hope have been felt as
a sort of warm atmosphere round the poor stricken
heart, which we hear is firmly resolved not to forget
its high duties in the midst of its great desolation.
The union prayer-meeting was held to-day that
there might be a concentration of spiritual force in
this direction, and very true I thought the prayers

^ The funeral of H.R.H. the Prince Consort.


were for the Oueen, and for her son, and for all the
mourners. It made one almost feel as if fresh bless-
ings would be granted her, deeper perhaps than she
has ever yet known. Is not this the experience of
many a bereaved heart ?

" This wretched American business ! To-day it
seems all terribly real to us, as a large Confederate
merchantman has broken the blockade, and has
come into our harbour with a cargo for England
— no, there is only rumour of its approach. The
Northern States privateer is reported in the offing
on the watch for her, and a British ship of war and
certain gunboats are come to keep the peace in our

December 31. — The full year is coming to an end.
How much of anxiety and pain and grief it has
contained, but how much too of support and
strength and comfort granted through all, difficul-
ties conquered, paths made clear, duties made plea-
sant, very much to strengthen our faith and to
animate our love. Our home life now looks clear
and bright, and we all go on cheerily together ; the
sense of change is everywhere, but the presence of
the Changeless One is nearer still.


Caroline Fox to E. T. Came.

" Penjerrick, July 15, 1862. — I rise from the
reading of thy paper on Buckle^ to thank thee
warmly. Having now read the book it dealt with,
all bonds were broken, and I have eagerly devoured
it at a sitting, and again and again cried ' Bravo ! '
in my heart. My dear, it is in such a fine gentle-
manly tone, no theological or other contempt, but
full of Christian boldness and Christian love ; a
sort of utterance one need not be ashamed of at the
Day of Judgment — a use of the Light which has
been accumulating for some six thousand years (or
more ?), which He who gives it will deign to bless.
Oh, if our controversies for at least eighteen hun- •
dred years had been conducted in this same spirit,
instead of the rancour and arrogance, unfairness
and self-conceit, which have unhappily characterised
all parties, surely we should be in different regions
now, and jesting Pilate would have no excuse for
asking 'What is Truth?'

''Thou hast convicted Buckle of glaring incon-
sistencies to his own theory, such as appeared even
very early in his first volume, and which I think
he must have often smiled to recognise as he went


on with his mountain of Facts ; but there is such
courteous and glad acknowledtrment of what he has
done for us^ as is more dehghtful than characteristic
of a clever critic. I yearn that he should have seen
the paper — which I fear is more possible than
probable — in Egypt. He was one greatly loved by
those who knew him, and of such a nature as to be
wounded and driven further off, rather than in any
way helped, by the ordinary groans and screams of
outraged theologians and pious Christians — which
latter had far better pray in silence than enter such
lists unbidden. I am not sure that I shall not go
further than thou dost as to the Law of Cause and
Effect in human affairs ; one is so often struck with
the awfully definite character of cause and conse-
quences : transgress any branch of the moral law,
and the fitting punishment is so certain ; sow the
seed, and as a necessary consequence you reap the
fruit. God has in various ages told us that so it
must be, and His Spirit has confirmed the warning
to every listening heart ; therefore I regard His
government as rather regular than exceptional —
but of course we really agree here also, and think
that Lord Palmerston did well when he preached
Sanitary Law to the Scotch. There is something


very touching and also very instructive in the
thought of a man being cut off in the midst of such
a work — especially as thou says that he was evi-
dently swallowing some of his theories in the second
volume : it shows the awfulness of giving your im-
mature thoughts to the world^ and perhaps deeply
influencing others ; thinking that you may carry on
the struggle towards Light indefinitely with them
and for them — and lo ! the hour strikes, you leave
them gazing through cloudy glasses at the spots on
the sun, but little able to discern the central star of
the Universe, round which you tell them that we
are all moving. Oh ! it is an awful thing to be a
thinker and writer. Woe must betide those who
do not seek a better light than their own."

October 4. — The Duke and Duchess of Mont-
pensier have been staying at Falmouth for some
days. Howard Fox saw much of and liked them.
He brought the Duke and his daughter here, but
we were unfortunately out. He said how much the
Infanta desired to see the place, so we went in and
invited her, an easy, gracious, royal lady, with a
sensible, pleasant, not quite handsome face ; they
would have come, but embarked instead.


Caroline Fox to J. M. Sterling.

" November 28. — Thou shalt rejoice with me over
my poor Scotchman at the Sailors' Home. (My
romances are so apt to centre there !) Well, he was
brought in several weeks ago, frightfully ill and suf-
fering ; a very perilous operation might possibly have
relieved him, but they dared not attempt it here,
and wanted to send him to a London hospital. He
earnestly desired to be left here to die quietly, and
I own I was very glad when at last they let him
have his way, as it seemed very probable that the
operation would be fatal. Well, somehow, we
formed a very close friendship. He had frightened
away the good people (the clergyman, &c.) by his
stormy language, when really he was half delirious
from agony; but wx were nearer the same level,
and so, as I said, we formed a romantic friendship.
He poured out the story of his life, which had sepa-
rated him from all his friends for more than twenty
years. ' Oh ! I was a bad, bad, bad boy ! My life
has been one course of sin ! ' and he was utterly
hopeless of forgiveness. Oh ! the fixed despair of
those poor eyes. I urged him to allow me to write
to his family to tell of his contrition and ask for-


giveness ; but he said it was impossible that they
could forgive him ; the prodigal had wasted his own
share of his father's heritage, but he had wasted
theirs, and then ran away from them to America,
and broke their hearts. What he would give to fall
down before his father and beseech his forgiveness !
but it was all too late. He cried bitterly, but for a
week or two he would not let me make the attempt,
which he was certain was utterly useless. He was
evidently sinking, and I felt so strongly that if it
were possible to win the forgiveness of his family,
he would then be able to believe in a higher forffive-
ness ; so last Sunday I wheedled his father's address
out of him, and got his tacit consent to my letter
going, though he was certain there would be no one
there to receive it. The thought of my Scotchman
haunted me to-day, so in I went and found a most
loving letter from his brother hailing him as alive
from the dead ; I ran down to the Sailors' Home
and found another from his sister in ecstasy of joy,
and telling of his father's complete forgiveness and
tender love. ' He would have spent his last shilling
to come to you, but he is gone ! ' Oh, I have never
seen anything more exquisitely touching than the
floods of wonder and ecstasy when I took in my


treasures. It was still an almost incredible joy ; he
poured forth his thankfulness and his tears before
God, to think that he had still brothers and sisters
who forgave him, and loved him, and received him
as alive from the dead. His father he had felt
certain was dead, so that was no shock, but to think
how his love had clunef to him to the last ! Now I


believe he will find no difficulty in believing in
that Higher Love which has already done such
great things for him ! He covered his sister's letter
with kisses, saying, ' It's my sister's heart, her heart.'
She had telegraphed to a soldier brother near Chat-
ham to come to him at once, so two or three may
possibly be with him in a few days ! I hope that
all this joy will not have killed him before they
come, but I should think it must hasten the end.
I did not leave him till he was quieter, and I have
since been writing most happy letters to them both.
There, my dear, is a long story for thee, but I could
not help telling thee what has made me quite tipsy.
Excuse my happiness, and believe me, thy

" C. F."

Falmouth, January 30, 1863. — We had a great
treat in hearing Charles Kean read Richard III.,


Alexander's Feast, the Prisoner of Chillon, &c.,
very fine and very dramatic ; we saw something of
him and his wife afterwards, and Hked our theatrical
friends greatly.

Caroline Fox to E. T. Came.

" Blois, June 6. — This Spanish frisk^ has been
most memorable; the great object of the journey
accomplished far beyond their hopes, though in
a way to save the Queen's pride and their vanity.
Many think that it is a first and very important
step in the direction of religious liberty, from which
they will not dare to recede with all Europe looking
on, and speaking its mind very distinctly.

"We saw a good deal of some very thoughtful
and liberal-minded Spaniards, but it is sad to see in
what a state of timidity and unmanliness some of
the really superior ones are kept by the narrow laws
of their country. I wonder what has become of all
the ci-devant prisoners ? Have you got them in
England ? I hope not. They would be in worse
peril there than in the prisons of Granada. Anna
Maria and I contrived to get a great deal of com-

^ In allusion to the deputation to the Queen of Spain asking for
the liberation of Maiamoros.



mon-place enjoyment out of the excursion, whilst
our betters were engaged in conference with their
brother deputies. They were a gallant set of men,
representing ten different nations, and we felt very
proud of them."

Penjerrick, March 9, 1864. — Mrs. Welsh has
settled amongst us very cordially. Her accounts
of Mrs. Carlyle are piteous — it is such a weary,
suffering sick-room, the nerves all on edge, so that
she can see scarcely any one ; poor Carlyle is miser-

jlpril 17. — Garibaldi came to Par to see his
Englishman, and we, armed with a friendly intro-
duction and a kind invitation from the Colonel and
Mrs. Peard, went to meet him. Amongst the flags
erecting to welcome him was a grim Austrian
banner, which w'as soon lugged down. It was
moonlight before he arrived ; there was a pause as
the train drew up at the platform, and then the
General was almost lifted out of the carriage, and
stood with the lamps lighting up his face. It was
full of deep lines of pain and care and weariness,
but over and through it all such a spiritual beauty
and moral dignity. His dress was picturesque in


form and colour — the red shirty the grey cloak lined
with red, the corner flung gracefully over one
shoulder. Colonel Peard was there, his duty being
to protect his chief from the enthusiasm of the
crowd. The next morning he gave us a cordial
reception ; a good night had done wonders for him,
and had taken off twenty years from his apparent
age. We talked of his last night's reception, and I
asked if he had ever been at Falmouth as was re-
ported. " Never," he said ; " but I was at Ports-
mouth in '^^ : " he hopes to come and visit us some

/uly 2. — Have just returned from a visit to Pro-
fessor Adams at Cambridge. He is so delightful in
the intervals of business, enjoying all things, large
or small, with a boyish zest. He showed and ex-
plained the calculating machine (French, not Bab-
bage), which saves him much in time and brain, as
it can multiply or divide ten figures accurately.
We came upon an admirable portrait of him at
St, John's College before he accepted a Pembroke
Fellowship and migrated thither. Next day we
met Professor Sedgwick, looking so aged ; and
whilst at Trinity we had a pleasant talk with Dean
Stanley and Lady Augusta.


Caroline Fox to J. M. Sterling.

" Penjerrick, November 25, 1865. — I fear I shall
not get to the Crag to-day to report on the casu-
alties of the last few days^ as it is still blowing
great guns ; and it is piteous to watch the great
trees rocking and shuddering under the weight of
the gale^ the tall cypress sometimes bending to an
angle of 45°. It is wonderful that more mischief is
not done before our eyes. At Grove Hill, several
large trees were torn up by their roots, and did
as much mischief — like Samson, in dying — as they
conveniently could. What we see makes one think
tragically of what we do not see. Another vessel
is ashore in our harbour — twelve or fourteen are
reported ashore in Plymouth Harbour ; but what of
those of whom we hear nothing, and perhaps shall
never hear ? Oh, it is a doubtful luxury to live on
the coast and watch those grand creatures struggling
across the Bav, partly dismasted — almost beaten —
but not quite! God help them, and those who
love them.

" Thanks for thy last, with its slowly progressive
news of vour patient. I suppose that is as much
as one has anv right to hope for. And thanks


for the glorious echoes of that Lobgesang. Thou
must have wanted it after reading Robertson's life.
Poor, dear, dear Robertson ! Was it necessary to
tell it all to the public? I often ask myself; but
then, I have not finished the first volume yet. I
had almost rather have been left alone with his
sermons. Dost thou really not hope to feel con-
sciously nearer the Father of all by and by, than in
this present cloudy existence ? I shouldn't think it
worth while to die at all (!) if I could only crave in
dying that I might not be taken away from Him.
' This day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise/ was
said to the repentant thief, and I should fully hope
to creep in, however far behind him. I always
think his a very sublime act of faith recognising
his King in that dark hour.

"A great anxiety just now is our darling Louisa
Reynolds. She is, you know, to us the one 'in-
dispensable' member of the circle. But that is a
poor reason for begrudging her an entrance into the
Celestial City, fit ending of her faithful, loving
pilgrimage. But she would be very willing to stay
with us a while, so long as her Lord has any work
for her to do. It is peace to turn to her from
Jamaica. Where art thou in that strife ? Not


with the Times, I trust? Of course my national
vanity makes me shudder much more under the
Enghsh than the Negro savagery. Hast thou seen
any of the documents in the Daily News of the
20th or 33d ? But the governor's despatch is enough
to make one sick without note or comment.

'^A third tree gone down before our eyes! the
gale is awful. Oh, I trust that George is safe at
Natal shooting rabbits 1 He has shot five, dear
fellow, a feat performable in England ! The father
was coming in every ten minutes with news of
fresh disasters, so I could stand it no longer, but
went forth into the storm ; it was grand and terrific,
and the great trees were cracking around us, and
some giants prostrate having crushed many darlings
in their fall. Oh, it would have gone to thy heart
to see the lovely squashed pines ; but all was no-
thing to the blessing of poor John not having been
hurt, who was actually in a tree cutting down its
branches w^hen it fell. About twenty trees are
gone, some of the very largest, and what may have
been going on again at Grove Hill we can only

'' Having got out, how could I resist the tempta-
tion of giving my betters the slip, and creeping away


to the Crag to see what might be left of it ? And
I rejoice to say that it has stood all gallantly ; a
few old trees gone^ but nothing to signify. One
from the terrace bank fell, and another near it
Hugh wisely cut away lest it should fall on the
greenhouse. Only two panes of glass gone, and
neither slates nor chimney-pots from the house.
The sea was glorious, and the pond extended almost
as far as Bolt's house. I crept round the hill and
up the zig-zag to get there; but Hugh thought I
might get across the hill-top in returning. ' In-
deed, I shall have to pass it myself this evening,'
and 1 think he wished to see the experiment tried.
I did it ! only taking twice to Mother Earth. Hast
thou ever seen the earth breathing and throbbing?
It looks verv uncanny — caused by the heavino; of
the great roots. Four wrecks are reported between
here and the Lizard, but no lives lost in the har-
bour! Yours, C. F.

" Is this the last rose of summer ? No, there is
yet a bud ; but is it not gallant of it to be doing its
devoir still ? "

The following answers to what may be termed " Popular
Fallacies," were written this year for the Pen and Pencil
Club bv Caroline Fox : —


That " Enough is as good as a feast," is triumphantly
refuted by every schoolboy.

That the " Pudding is known by the eating," is denied
by every dweller in a kitchen.

"That one Englishman is a match for six Frenchmen."
The Emperor smiles.

"That it is better to suffer any wrong than do any."
Roars of laughter at St. Stephen's.

"That a man is what a woman makes him," is asserted
before marriage, refuted afterwards.

"That Britons never will be slaves." Singing which they
rush upon their doom at the Blue Anchor — result, slavery
and madness.

"That a little knowledge is a dangerous thing." Not so
dangerous as none at all.

"That manners make the man." The man should make
the manners, unless a dancing master's graciousness will
content you.

" That every man has his price," but God can correct the

Penjerrick, March 18, 1866. — I have just been
brought through a sharp Httle attack of bronchitis,
and feel bound to record my sense of the tender
mercy that has encompassed me night and day.
Though it may have been in part my own wilful-
ness and recklessness that brought it on, that and
all else was pardoned, all fear of suffering or death
was swallowed up in the childlike joy of trust:
a perfect rest in the limitless love and wisdom of


a most tender Friend^ whose Will was far dearer
to me than my own. That blessed Presence was
felt just in proportion to the needs of the hour,
and the words breathed into my spirit were just
the most helpful ones at the time, strengthening
and soothing. This was specially felt in the long
still nights, wdien sometimes I felt very ill : " Never
less lonely than when thus alone — alone with God."
Surely I know more than ever of the reality of
that declaration, "This is Life Eternal, that they
might know Thee the only true God and Jesus
Christ whom Thou hast sent." I write all this
now, because my feelings are already fading into
commonplace, and I would fain fix some little scrap
of my experience. I had before been craving for
a little more spiritual life on any terms, and how
mercifully this has been granted ! and I can utterlv
trust that in any extremity that may be before me
the same wonderful mercy will encompass me,
and of mere love and forgiving compassion carry
me safely into Port.^

^ With the exception of a few notes of her life's ordinary doings,
this is the last entry in the whole series of Caroline Fox's Journals.


Fro7n '"'' Johnny " the Murmozet to M. E. Tregelles.

Hotel (VOrient, Hyhes, November 22, 1866. —
My clear and noble and generous cousin! — How
I do love you and hug you in my heart, and hope
that you are lying somewhere as snugly and warmly
as I am. Just now_, indeed, I am up and sitting on
the balcony outside the window and dressing for
the day (my legs and tail take a long time to polish
up), and I let Aunt Caroline do the writing for
me, as her affairs can't be so important as mine.
She has mv carriage {sac de voyage I call it now)
strapped round her waist ready for me when I
wish to go and look at the Mediterranean from
under the palm-trees, or to M. Gorcin's studio.
I went yesterday to a church on a hill, and saw
such a number of people there and all about the
place, because it was the great anniversary; and
moreover the town of Hyeres presented a picture
of the Virgin that day as a thank-offering for
having been spared a visitation of cholera ; and
such a number of candles were burning before
it as made me think of the sunshine of mv own
Brazil ! Hundreds of funny little pictures were
hung all round the church, showing people in all


sorts of dangers ; I believe my aunts thought it
was very nice to be thankful in any fashion, but
I assure you the pictures were hideously painted.
Besides, there was always the Madonna stuck up
in the corner of them ; and as I always go to
Meeting now — even on fourth-day evenings — of
course I don't like that.

" I have made such a number of friends on mv
travels: the waiters are ready to worship me at
tahle-d'hotes, and give a plate 'pour le Petit' (I
don't know whether it is quite respectful to call
me so, but they mean well, I believe) ; and a
little boy here rushes down whilst I am at breakfast
en famille for a kiss; but as I don't always like
such interruptions, I think it best sometimes to
make a little round mouth at him.

" They all admire my sac de voyage very much,
and well they may ! I am glad they can't get into
it. A Russian Princess who filled a great hotel
with her glory, after petting me with enthusiasm,
turned to my Aunt and said, 'You are a happy
Woman ! ' to which I winked assent.

" You will be glad to hear that this climate suits
my health as well as that of my family. I like
to sit with them upon the cistuses and myrtles


and look out on the sea from under the pines,
and draw a little, and make friends with the people.
I had a great deal to say to the Pilgrims yesterday,
and they were delighted with my little books. —
I remain, thy very loving and very grateful cousin,

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Online LibraryCaroline FoxMemories of old friends : being extracts from the journals of Caroline Fox of Penjerrick, Cornwall from 1835 to 1871 (Volume 2) → online text (page 15 of 19)